ENGB30H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Proserpina, Iphicles, Pelias

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23 Nov 2016
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Classical Myth and Literature
Lecture 8: Overview Perseus & Jason; Heracles
Rape of Persephone
- Zeus’s role in the rape
o In HH2
Gives permission to Hades (p.171)
No intervention with Hades until he has exhausted all
possibilities of changing Demeter’s mind (p.175)
o In Ovid
Does not appear complicit in abduction plan
Sympathetic towards Pluto but immediately agrees to
intervene on Ceres’ behalf Ovid p.
Role of mediator (Ovid p.169)
- Differences in gender power relations in the 2 versions of the myth
o In HH2
Zeus’s right of control over Persephone’s fate taken for
granted
Demeter able to force compromise via non-compliance
o In Ovid
Venus’s exercise of power determines Pluto’s abduction of
Proserpina
Hints that Proserpina might actually prefer her current
situation
What is a hero?
- A name given (as in Homer) to men of superhuman strength, courage, or
ability, favoured by the gods; at a later time regarded as intermediate
between gods and men, and immortal. The later notion included men of
renown supposed to be defied on account of great and noble deeds, for which
they were also venerated generally or locally; also demigods, said to be the
offspring of a god or goddess and a human being; the two classes being, to a
great extent coincident (Def. 1, OED)
- A man distinguished by extraordinary valour and martial achievements; one
who does brave or noble deeds; an illustrious warrior (Def. 2, OED)
The Age of Heroes
- (eroic age falls at the end of Bronze Age; sometimes listed as its own
period in the five (as opposed to four) Ages of Man
- Significant difficulty piecing together a coherent timeline of who precedes
who:
o Ex: Apollodorus places Castor and Polydeuces (brothers of Helen),
Peleus and Laertes (fathers of Achilles and Odysseus, respectively),
Autolycos (maternal grandfather of both Jason and Odysseus),
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